American Express: Costly Travel Plans Defy Soft Economy

Despite the economic downturn, consumers will spend an average of $1,000 per person on travel plans this summer, according to the latest American Express survey.
Just more than half (51 percent) of Americans — and even more “affluents” (73 percent) and young professionals (83 percent) –- are planning summer vacations this year, according to the card company’s Spending & Saving Tracker survey of 2,000 adults.

A family of four will rack up $4,000 on average, based on the survey. Parents are also planning summer activities for their children at an average of $600 per child.
“People are passionate about travel, and frequently we find that they would rather find creative ways to reduce the cost of their trip rather than do without it altogether,” Audrey Hendley, vice president of American Express Travel.
Of those taking a summer vacation, most – 89 percent – will travel within the United States – with 31 percent with destinations in the South and 29 percent in the Northeast.
Only 16 percent plan to travel outside the United States, with the Caribbean, Canada and Europe at the top of the list.
The 49 percent of those not planning a summer vacation this year gave the following reasons:

  • 44 percent said they had not saved for a vacation;
  • 23 percent reported they plan to spend the money on something else, such as home improvements or local activities; 18 percent plan to spend on “family necessities;”
  • Only eight percent said they don’t have the time to either plan or take a vacation this year.

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